Council is fined after worker suffers injuries using unsuitable machinery

Posted on 09/17/14 in News, No Comments

First Reported by the Health and Safety Executive on 13th August 2014

Cirencester Town Council has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000 after a worker suffered injuries using a lawn mower which was inadequate for the job he had been asked to do.

The worker, who was employed by the Council as a groundsman, was using a ride-on mower to cut the grass on the outside slope of an amphitheatre when the mower tipped over due to poor ground conditions. The worker was thrown from the mower which then landed on top of him, causing him to suffer four fractured ribs and bruising.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the slope being mown was 64 degrees and the mower in operation was not suitable for slopes in excess of 25 degrees, making it completely inadequate for the task at hand. The worker also had no means of judging the slope as he had not been provided with an inclinometer, nor had he received any proper training, instructions or information which may have allowed the incident to be avoided.

Cirencester Town Council pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £12,000 with costs of £17,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Alison Fry said:

“The worker could have easily been killed, having been put at unnecessary risk because there were several other ways this work could have been carried out safely. It was an entirely avoidable incident, and I hope it serves to remind employers to take all site conditions into account, including slopes, before choosing equipment to cut grass.

“Employers need to carry out risk assessments to decide how to carry out a job safely. They then need to provide adequate training, information and instructions.”

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